Talk to me about Double Bass

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slave
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Talk to me about Double Bass

Post by slave » 23 Apr 2018, 20:46

Hi guys,

I'm thinking about grabbing a DB.
I've decided to challenge myself into learning something new (again) after getting the hang of fretless.
Idiot I know...

What should I consider before jumping in?

Is there really much difference in tone between a full size or 3/4 size DB?

Is mono or stereo pickup the way to go? Or is it just preference?

Cheers :cool:

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vin-tone
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Re: Talk to me about Double Bass

Post by vin-tone » 23 Apr 2018, 22:19

Yeah do it - it really does open up a whole new world of bassy goodness.

"Is there really much difference in tone between a full size or 3/4 size DB?"

3/4 is the standard that everyone plays. I think 4/4 might be more often use in orchestra? I have a friend who plays 7/8 and that's uncomfortably big (for me).

"Is mono or stereo pickup the way to go? Or is it just preference?"

Don't worry about pickups just yet. A golden rule is that if your acoustic tone isn't good - your amplified tone will only be bad and louder. Focus on getting a good acoustic tone first.

If you have someone who knows a bit about basses get their opinion on anything you're looking at - or if poss - get them to go with you and look. Feel free to post (or PM me) any basses you're interested in if you want my 2c.

Be prepared to throw a couple of grand in the mix. You can get lucky with a cheaper bass - but ….well you might get unlucky as well.
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slave
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Re: Talk to me about Double Bass

Post by slave » 24 Apr 2018, 22:02

Thanks vin,
Yeah I'm off to go inspect two tomoz, looking forward to it. 3/4 size but yeah like you said, it's still pretty big.
And I will have some help from a top fella I know, who knows their onions too ;)

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maxgroover
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Re: Talk to me about Double Bass

Post by maxgroover » 24 Apr 2018, 23:07

Whatever upright you end up purchasing, get it to a luthier straight away for a set up. Play the luthier some tracks of players that you really dig so he or she can get an idea of what tone you like. This will help them to perform the ideal set up for you.

Does the guy helping you with inspecting the basses have a luthier that he can recommend?
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slave
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Re: Talk to me about Double Bass

Post by slave » 24 Apr 2018, 23:11

No he never said anything like that, but owns a few and has done his own setups, so I'll see what he says.

Cheers

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Re: Talk to me about Double Bass

Post by slave » 06 May 2018, 21:01

vin-tone wrote:
23 Apr 2018, 22:19
You can get lucky with a cheaper bass....
Bought one. :p
1970's Suzuki 3/4. It's been fun for a few days
Last night I painted on side-dots to make it easy for me to know where I am. Cheating I know. :D
I have a few questions;

What is a good action height ?
The bass is currently wearing steels, which I like the sound of, but the height is around 10mm on the D/G side, around 12mm+ on the E/A side, which seems little high, but then I don't know much here about DB's. The bass was wearing nylons before I got it, and was setup for it too, he gave me a set of steels he'd never used. The tension is pretty stiff too.
And I know this sounds dumb, but how do you adjust it?

The D string has a bit of a buzz to it, I think there may be a problem with it as the other strings are just fine.
Where is a good place to buy strings (I assume online)?
And what are some good choices for standard EADG tuning?

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Re: Talk to me about Double Bass

Post by vin-tone » 06 May 2018, 21:28

Hey well done. Welcome to the dark side.

Yeah it might be an idea to string it with guts or synthetics. They will generally have lower tension - and are usually higher action to compensate (prob why your action is high).

There are a lot of options for strings …. and they're all expensive. :( Gollihur Music is my go-to for strings https://www.gollihurmusic.com/category/5-STRINGS.html.

I'm actually in a similar position - have always used steel strings - and whenever I get on someone else bass they're ALWAYS much easier to play. So I'm looking at some synthetic core strings ….

Innovation Silver Slaps:
https://www.gollihurmusic.com/product/2 ... RINGS.html
Get great reviews, low tension.

Zyex Strings:
https://www.gollihurmusic.com/product/2 ... RINGS.html

Velvet Anima /Garbo /
https://www.gollihurmusic.com/product/2 ... RINGS.html
More expensive but feel great. They're wound in copper and have a really soft feel. But yea…. expensive.

Bear in mind - different strings have different tonal qualities and what works for one bass won't necessarily work for another. eg. my bass is quite dark, so would benefit from something which pushes the mids.

Adjusting the action involves reshaping the bridge - I'm assuming you don't have height adjusters.
Last edited by vin-tone on 06 May 2018, 21:35, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Talk to me about Double Bass

Post by vin-tone » 06 May 2018, 21:31

Here's a chart I downloaded from a TB thread somewhere…. comparing a lot of brands string tensions….

Image

I've been using Helicore Hybrid medium - then Spirocore Weich.
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Re: Talk to me about Double Bass

Post by vin-tone » 06 May 2018, 21:35

maxgroover wrote:
24 Apr 2018, 23:07
Whatever upright you end up purchasing, get it to a luthier straight away for a set up. Play the luthier some tracks of players that you really dig so he or she can get an idea of what tone you like. This will help them to perform the ideal set up for you.
If you can… this is great advice.
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slowlearner
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Re: Talk to me about Double Bass

Post by slowlearner » 07 May 2018, 15:34

Some great advice here.
Re the difference between 3/4 and 4/4; mostly they're the same scale length (42"), it's just the body size that differs.

Re strings; don't be afraid to go light and cheap and then buy something bigger once you get the hang of it. Just remember, a gut/synthetic strings won't work with a Mag PU. Where as a steel string will work with Mag and Piezo PUs. Not a drama but worth thinking about. Like Vin-tone says, Gollihur are awesome. Their site is very helpful for us.

Re the buzz on the D; there's a good chance it could be the nut or bridge. Check them both first by holding the string in the nut with your finger and plucking. If it stops, you've found the problem. A little cardboard between the string and nut will usually stop the buzz.
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slave
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Re: Talk to me about Double Bass

Post by slave » 07 May 2018, 19:11

vin-tone wrote:
06 May 2018, 21:28
Hey well done. Welcome to the dark side.
Cheers :lol: Thanks for the great replies!
vin-tone wrote:
06 May 2018, 21:28
So I'm looking at some synthetic core strings ….
Thanks for the suggestions!
Question;
Are you a slapper? The guy I bought the bass from was a rockabilly-head, loved slapping the bass. I'm more a traditional finger-style sort of fella, I don't really slap at all (for now).
Does this change the sort of strings you might advise me to look at?
vin-tone wrote:
06 May 2018, 21:28
Bear in mind - different strings have different tonal qualities and what works for one bass won't necessarily work for another.
I haven't actually got a pickup presently, so I'm not sure which way to jump. I'll see if I can borrow a mono off a mate and go from there.
vin-tone wrote:
06 May 2018, 21:28
Adjusting the action involves reshaping the bridge - I'm assuming you don't have height adjusters.
Yeah I thought that might be the case.
I might just buy another bridge (maybe keep the current one how it is in case I like the idea of nylons at later date)
slowlearner wrote:
07 May 2018, 15:34
Re the buzz on the D; there's a good chance it could be the nut or bridge.
Thanks.
Yeah you're probably right, time to investigate. I'm familiar with steel bridges, working with a wooden one is a little new for me. :hmm

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Re: Talk to me about Double Bass

Post by vin-tone » 07 May 2018, 20:37

slave wrote:
07 May 2018, 19:11
...Are you a slapper? The guy I bought the bass from was a rockabilly-head, loved slapping the bass. I'm more a traditional finger-style sort of fella, I don't really slap at all (for now).
Does this change the sort of strings you might advise me to look at?...
Yeah absolutely. Guts and synthetics stretch more than steel core. also softer on the hands.

I slap a bit but want to work on it more. Hard to do on my bass setup.
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slave
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Re: Talk to me about Double Bass

Post by slave » 10 May 2018, 21:19

Thanks again Vin.
Buzzing problem sorted, blisters gained.

Looking at the strings and comparing with photo's online, I *think* I've identified them.
Could be D'Addario Helicore Hybrids, but I can't identify whether they're the heavy or mediums.
Ever try these?
I kinda like their tone acoustically (which is where I'm focussing on), but they're a bit stiff at their current action height. A setup is coming....

Do those synthetic strings you were mentioning still get a decent acoustic tone?

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Re: Talk to me about Double Bass

Post by BassLine » 10 May 2018, 22:32

The setup HAS to be done with the strings you're intending to use. Looser strings need a higher action, so if you're going to try cheap nylons then now's the time.
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Re: Talk to me about Double Bass

Post by vin-tone » 11 May 2018, 09:34

Yeah I used to have Hybrids on mine but they were quite old and a bit dull. A friend has them on his and they sound and feel great. Good for Arco too (when you get into that.)

I've heard some synthetics and they sound good. More 'gut-like'. Check out Geoff Chalmers Zyex vid on Youtube for a good review and tonal comparison to Evah Parazzi.

IMO The strings with the best tone will be the ones that feel the best. Simply bc they will make you play better..... so will sound better.
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